Lieutenant Bargh goes to the building where the natives are being held captive. He also instructs three of his team members to quietly travel back to meet with Levion and report on the situation with the radio communication anomaly and that Smith is delusional and taken a dozen natives captive. He instructs the rest of his men to watch Smith’s men very carefully and be prepared to take them out if he gives the order or if they feel it is necessary for protecting the mission. He has them put on their head gear that will filter the air they are breathing as a precaution.
Bargh enters the room with two other soldiers where the natives are being held. He instructs his men to remove the restraints from the natives.
“Thank you, human. Now, you should go and leave us in peace. You false gods have already killed us all.”
Bargh is confused. “Help me understand your situation, friend. I am here to help. We are all here to help your kind. I apologize for my fellow human’s behavior towards you and your kind. We do want to help. And perhaps you can help us. What is your name?”
“I am Esua, human. There is no help for kind like you. You are wicked, and your kind has brought death upon us all.”
“Well, you can call me, Norman. Your planet is dying, but that’s not our fault. I know it might seem like that. We arrive and then soon your planet is doomed. I understand. Your planet’s death is not because of us.”
“You are a fool, human. Your own kind has deceived you as well as us. I wish you peace in your short life. May we now leave to enjoy our final days?”
Bargh motions that they may leave. “I am not holding you prisoner.” Bargh says to the natives as they begin to exit. The native he is speaking to remains.
“You are the prisoner, human.”
Bargh instructs his men to leave him and the native alone. “Enlighten me, friend.”
“You should go. There is not much time left. My god’s judgement is coming”
Bargh sits down in a chair and lifts up his arms. “You strike me as the smartest being in this room right now, Esua. And that’s not a position I’m particularly comfortable with when I also have my own men wanting to harm you. I’m guessing that you told my friend Smith something pretty bad.”
“I told him only what I have told you. Your people are wicked and have brought death upon us all. He held us captive. There is no more to tell you.”
“Well, I might not be a Mohcia, but I sure can tell when I’m being deceived.”
“Then you know that your people have deceived you already.”
“Yes, Esua. I know that my people have deceived me. I just don’t know what they have lied to me about. I also know that you just deceived me when you said there is no more to tell me, and I think you want to tell me but don’t want to tell me or are afraid to tell me. I also think you don’t fear anyone but your god.”
“I do not fear my god. He has given me life and a family. And he shall give me death too.”
Bargh pulls out his flashlight and tosses it to Esua who drops it. “He didn’t give you a thumb though. Why do you think that is?” He holds up his hand and wiggles his thumb back and forth as Esua tries to pickup the flashlight.
Esua stares at Bargh’s thumb with his large blue eyes. “My god took them from us because of our sin. I have no need for such an appendage, Norman.”
Bargh walks over to Esua and at 6’6″, he’s towering over the less than 4 foot Esua. He bends down on one knee, picks up the flashlight and then hands it gently to Esua , wedging it between the last and second fingers on Esua’s six-fingered hand. He places Esua’s free finger on the button and presses it down to turn on the flashlight. Esua looks on in amazement.
“Help me see the light, Esua.” Bargh says softly to Esua who is moving the light around and shining it on the walls and ceiling in amazement.
“My people had honored our powerful god since the dawn of time, and he has graced us with a plentiful planet, long lives, and peace. Our god also warned us that one day we will be face to face with false gods. Gods who look like him. Gods with magic almost as powerful as him. But it will all be deceit. Your kind is the deceit, Norman. Your only role in saving my people is that you will bring us to the final judgement of my god.”
Bargh stands up and is trying his best to keep a poker face as he now is thinking that the original Earth crew was not the first humans to make contact with Mohcia. He sits back down in the chair. “Tell me more, friend.”
“We lived in peace for countless generations. Then your kind arrived. Your kind corrupted the minds of my family above and below me. Just as my god had said would happen, your kind is the false gods he said would come. My god spoke to my family through me and said we must make your false god kind leave our world. But my family bowed down to your false god magic and rejected my true god. I was banished to the center of this world. The most uninhabitable portion of the planet, but my god provided for me and my family. We have thrived and grown.”
Bargh crosses his arms as he’s digesting what Esua is telling him.
“Then your kind built this monument to your own false greatness, and even my own family here in the center of my world began to reject me. So, my god came to me and told me that since I had not rid my world of these false gods, he will strike the sun from the sky and cast my world into cold death in 200 years.”
“And let me guess, Esua. That was about 200 years ago?”
“It will be 200 years in 27 days.”
“You are right. We don’t have much time left. You don’t have to choose to die, Esua. I can save you and your family. I am not a god, I’m just a soldier who wants to help you.”
“The best way you can help me is to let me be, Norman.”
Bargh stands up and starts walking towards the door.
“Your light.” Esua holds it up towards Bargh.
“Keep it, Esua. You’ll need it in 27 days.”
Levion arrives at the home of the native who he now knows was named Issa by his uncle. The home is built into a massive rock at the base of a large mountain with a huge water fall about 100 yards away. There are two buildings behind a large wall with an open entrance. One of the buildings looks much like a chapel with a large double door entrance and a bell in both of the towers in the front of the building. It is by far the most advanced structure on Mohcia after the Earth bases.
The second building is a traditional Mohcia hut to the left side as they enter and Issa tells Levion that is where his family lives. Levion directs his troops to have the helper robots take care of Issa’s family while he visits the other building with Issa.
Levion is a bit baffled by the chapel looking building. There’s no possible way the Mohcia could have constructed a building like this or made the ball or even the doors. They live in huts and don’t have the tools necessary to make such a building.
“Who made this building, Issa?”
“The original gods, master. The gods before my master arrived.”
“You ever meet these original gods?”
“Oh, no, master. They are not real. They were created by the wretched outcasts of Esua so that they could prosper while others went without. Those with the power abused it, so we revolted and banished them to the center of our world.”
Issa opens the large double door to the building, walks inside, and motions to Levion to enter. As Levion steps through the threshold he swears he hears a voice say something to him. Chills run down his spine. He pauses and steps back out of the building. He looks upward in the inside of the building. There is nothing unusual about the building other than it being so advanced compared to all the other native made buildings.
Levion steps across the threshold again and hears the same voice say slightly different words. He doesn’t understand the language, and the translator device is not registering that anything is being said.
Issa is all the way on the other side of the building and motions to Levion. “Come master. The gift from my master awaits you.”
Levion steps further into the building and looks in all directions to see if he can find a source of the mysterious voice, but he cannot find anything. “Issa, what is that noise you hear when you enter the building?”
“That is my master’s god. Your god, my master.”
Levion walks into the back of the building and stands next to Issa. They are standing in front of an altar of some sort of worship. Levion looks over at Issa who is holding his six-fingered hands in prayer and mumbling words that his translator device is not picking up.
“I will bring you to my master now.” Issa points at a door to their right.
Levion walks over to the door and unhooks the latch that’s holding it closed. He opens the door to find his uncle sitting in a chair with his arms folded in front of him. He walks in and closes the door behind him.
“You’re a sight for sore eyes, Andre! I was wondering if you were going to make it in time.” John says as he stands up and reaches his hands out for a hug.
Andre backs up and extends his hands to keep John at a distance. “What’s with all this bullshit, Uncle?”
John steps back and looks at Andre’s uniform. “What the hell happened, Andre? You’re infrastructure? You’re supposed to be military. What the hell did you do?”
“My life choices are my life choices. I’m an adult now, Uncle John. I’m not your naive little nephew anymore.”
“If that were only so, Andre. You have no fucking idea what the hell this mission is really about! Shit!” John paces back and forth for a bit.
“What’s going on, Uncle John?”
“Well, Andre, there’s a lot more to this world and this universe than you might realize. God dammit! Why didn’t you follow my guidance?”
“I wanted to be my own man! I was tired of being the nephew of the great John Levion. Do you have any idea what kind of shadow you cast?”
“You’ve put me in a very difficult situation, kid.” John pauses as he keeps pacing back and forth. He then stops and places his hands on Andre’s shoulders, staring deep into his eyes. “You need to listen to me VERY carefully, kid. This mission is complete horse shit. If you had stuck to what I told you to do and stayed military instead of infrastructure, you’d know what’s really going on. All your friends up on that piece of shit Ark that you’re commanding… They’re all dead! You’re dead. Everyone non-military on this mission is dead!”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“We weren’t the ones to make contact with the Mohcia. Someone made contact with this planet about 2000 Mohcia years ago. When we arrived 300 years ago, we thought this was some primitive planet with a species at the top of the food chain who had maximized their evolutionary potential millennia ago. These Mohcia were never going to evolve beyond their primitive state. Then we discovered this building. I’m sure you noticed a few odd things about this building, right?”
“Ya, there’s no way these Mohcia made this building.”
“That’s the obvious one. That voice you heard when you came and that chill you felt… Those are the result of some very clever engineering to psychologically manipulate the natives into believing the makers of this building are gods with some special powers.”
“You found the builder?”
“No, but we did find the envoy he left behind. Physically weak. Total pussies, but these guys are super smart. I’m talking about guys that make our best scientists look like they are in grade school. That’s when things got hairy, kid.”
“What are they?”
“That’s impossible! 2000 Mohcia years would put them arriving 100 Earth years before we had interstellar travel capabilities.”
“Well, they sure as hell bled like humans when I killed them, Andre. That’s why my team was sent here. My team tracked down every single one of them and eradicated these fuckers and studied their DNA. They’re humans.”
“You said, they were an envoy left behind?”
“Ya, we had no idea they had been here as long as they had at first. We thought they were just some rogue settlers who went out on their own. Maybe a private space adventure not long before we arrived. We actually thought they were dumb because they had no weapons and no real defense system. We’ve seen that before on other planets. Some rich ass kid takes all their parents’ money and moves to some planet with a one way interstellar ticket. Originally, they seemed like a bunch of dirty hippies to me. Little did I realize that the joke was on me.”
“That’s why you made the distress signal?”
“That’s complicated, Andre. Really complicated. And something I can’t tell you right now. Bottom line is, all those people on this mission are dead.”
Andre looks at his uncle with contempt. “You’re going to war with the other humans and this mission is just a ruse to get Earth to back your next military glory!”
“Andre, I don’t expect you to understand…” Andre cuts off John’s train of thought.
“Jennifer is the Admiral of this whole mission, John!”
John pauses. He drops his hands from Andre’s shoulders and looks down and shakes his head. “Fuck!”